Sun, Mar 27, 2005 - Page 5 News List

`Anti-Secession' Law peace protest mostly peaceful

PEACE GESTURE Rally participants held true to the theme by behaving non-violently, but one person was struck after yelling, `unify with China'

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian, center, holds up two inflatable batons during yesterday's March for Democracy and Peace to Protect Taiwan rally. To the left of Chen is his daughter Chen Hsin-yu, and her husband Chao Chien-ming, who is holding the couple's son, Chao Yi-an.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-TEH, TAIPEI TIMES

Yesterday's demonstration against China's "Anti-Secession" Law ended peacefully as more than 500 security personnel successfully guarded President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the first family, all of whom participated in the event.

National Police Agency Vice Director-General Hung Sheng-kun said "the public behaved reasonably and peacefully in spite of one or two very small violent incidents during the rally."

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Rear Admiral Liu Chih-chien (劉志堅) yesterday said "the navy and air force increased their monitoring of the nation's sea and airspace yesterday to prevent a surprise attack from China, but found no unusual movement by the Chinese military."

Chen and his family yesterday afternoon showed up at Hungzhou South Road, attracting many awed march attendees.

Presidential Guard

More than 500 security personnel escorted Chen and his family, preventing anyone from walking too close to the president. They pushed marchers and reporters out of the way as they advanced.

The security around Chen and the first family also kept alert to anyone acting strangely and dangerously, and also kept an eye on people who put their hands in their pockets or bags.

National Security Bureau, which is in charge of Chen's security, strengthened its force after the assassination attempt on Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on March 19 last year.

Chen and his family walked form Hangzhou South Road, passing Renai Rd, and stopped at Ketagelan Boulevard.

Security personnel crowded the buildings around Chen's route. Snipers dotted building roofs and were ready should a threat be posed to Chen or his family.

Over 100 vans with personnel armed with machine guns were also on hand yesterday around Ketagelan Boulevard. They were prepared to immediately take Chen, his family and other government officials away if any violence occurred.

Meanwhile, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday took part in the parade route that began at Taan Park. He walked 1km while bureau personnel guarded him.

Police Presence

Hung said a total of 13,000 police officers were on hand to maintain order during yesterday's rally -- a record for any demonstration ever held in the nation.

He said traffic police maintained order at 373 intersections and monitored about 3,000 buses which brought people from all over the nation.

Police reported that a man who shouted "peaceful unification with China" at the rally was hit by several people, but the police quickly dispersed those involved.

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